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The movies starts off with a picture of a red scarf hanging off a street lamp and then flying through the air.

Harlem, 1987. Clarice Precious Jones (Gabourey Sildibe) is in a math class, daydreaming. She is wearing a red scarf. Much of the film is in first-person narration. She narrates, My name is Clarice Precious Jones. I want to be on the cover of a magazine. I wish I had a light-skinned boyfriend with good hair. But first I want to be in one of those BET videos, and we see a fantasy sequence of her dressed in a photo-shoot, accompanied with a light-skinned boyfriend (who will be in all her future movie sequences.) She also says I 'm gonna break through, someone is going to break through to me, ima be normal and sit in the front of
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It is clear that Precious is illiterate by the way she takes the test and narrates that tests paint pictures of me with no brain. On her way back, a group of thugs sexually harass her and then one pushes her down when she doesn't respond. Cut to a fantasy sequence of her dancing in an Apollo-like stage and her boyfriend licking her ear, but it is really a dog licking her ear while she is down on the ground. She returns to her building and runs into a little girl, Ruby, who pesters her.

It is another day and Precious needs money for food before leaving house. But mom is too busy in bed, pleasuring herself, but asks Precious to come up and take care of her. She says, I wish she would stop that shit - meaning the sexual abuse. Afterward Precious goes to a fried-chicken shop and orders a bucket of chicken, but runs off with it without paying. She eats the whole bucket on the way to school and then throws up (perhaps showing a habit of binge-eating or maybe it is because she is pregnant).

At the alternative school, the teacher, Ms. Blue Rain (Paula Patton), calls Precious to class and tells the class the purpose of the school is to prepare them for the GED. We are introduced to five other students. She asks each student to write and say their name, favorite color, talent, and why they are in the alternative class. The students say their items, but when its Precious's turn she asks to be skipped. Ms. Rains goes on teaching but Precious speaks up. Precious is scared,

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